Valisure, an online pharmacy based in New Haven,
The product is considered as dangerous as asbestos and several companies had levels up to eight times the limit recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
‘The presence of benzene, a known human carcinogen, and multiple other contaminants, in products widely recommended for the prevention of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 and regularly used by adults and children in large volumes makes these findings especially troubling,’ Valisure wrote in a letter to the FDA.
Valisure, an online pharmacy based in New Haven, Connecticut, tested 260 hand sanitizer bottles from 168 brands and found benzene in several bottles including from company artsnatural, which has eight times more than the recommended limit (above)
A total of 44 batches, or 17% – including these Satar Wars hand sanitizers (above) – had detectable levels of benzene, a carcinogen linked to certain blood cancers such as leukemia
Benzene is a liquid chemical that is typically colorless but, at room temperature, can become a light yellow color.
It is naturally found in volcanoes and as a result of forest fires, but is also used to make several products including detergents, dyes, lubricants and rubbers.
Being exposed to high levels of benzene can cause cells to not works correctly such as causing bone marrow to not produce enough red blood cells or damaging the immune system to lose white blood cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified benzene as a carcinogen, putting it in the highest risk category, Group 1, with other chemicals such as asbestos.
Benzene has been linked to blood cancers such as leukemia
HAND SANITIZERS WITH THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF BENZENE
5. The Crème Shop
6. Star Wars Mandalorian
7. Body Prescriptions
8. Born Basic
9. beauty concepts
The FDA currently recommends a limit of two ppm (part per million) for liquid hand sanitizer, but does not have recommendations for others such as sprays.
For its analysis, Valisure sampled 260 bottles from 168 brands sold at various big box stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and online retailers across the country.
Of the liquid and non-liquid products tested, 44 batches, or 17 percent, had detectable levels of benzene.
A total of 21 bottles, or eight percent of the supply, contained levels of benzene above two parts per million.
An eight-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer made by company artnaturals had the highest level of benzene at 16 parts per million.
Test results by the online pharmacy were verified by Yale University’s Chemical and Biophysical Instrumentation Center and Boston Analytics, a private laboratory.
All of the products with the highest levels of benzene began selling their products in either April or May 2020, according to FDA records, when mainstays were disappearing off of shelves.
Valisure believes some of the sanitizers may have become contaminated with benzene because the chemical is sometimes used in alcohol purification, although it is supposed to be removed before the hand sanitizer is packaged.
Twenty-one bottles, 8%, had levels of benzene above the FDA-recommended limit of two parts per million such as this hand sanitizer made by huangjisoo (abkve)
Valisure has sent a letter to the FDA asking the agency to recall the batches and to conduct its own analysis. Pictured: One of the hand sanitizers that contained high levels of benzene
Valisure has drafted a citizen petition to the FDA, identifying the products and asking the agency to recall the batches, conduct its own analysis and to develop guidance documents defining the limit of benzene for all hand sanitizers.
This is not the first time potentially toxic hand sanitizers have come under public scrutiny.
In June 2020, the FDA warned Americans to stop using nine hand sanitizers because they contained varying amounts of methanol.
Methanol is a type of alcohol that can be poisonous if it is absorbed through the skin or ingested.
Not long after, the FDA warned against ingesting hand sanitizer after at least seven people in New Mexico did so, leaving three dead and one permanently blind.